A curious thing happened on the way to the Olympics

Pardon me for being deeply suspicious but by Saturday morning, the litany of heavy criticism of these Olympics had reached its zenith in the comments on the opening ceremony, of which this was typical:

Politically correct and brimming with socio-political messages stuffed “down ya throat mate” at every opportunity marred so many good ideas. Perhaps it was a question of balance which I and others here may have missed. Was genuinely taken aback by the large proportion of non-native population performing (with BBC TV camera work highlighting the point at every available opportunity- or so it may have seemed). Britain’s future yawned before me. Am I wrong? Cultural self-destruction prepared by generations of idealistic fools is no longer impossible.

… and a quick check of the hundreds of comments at the Telegraph and Mail respectively revealed that about 80% were more or less in this vein,some nicer, some more scathing.

Suddenly, in the space of of one day, an article went up at the Mail, praising the ceremony to the heavens and accompanying it with a “reader survey” which showed that 63% of people thought it the most wonderful ceremony ever. All negatives were heavily red-arrowed. Similarly, at the Telegraph online, top right was the news that we all thought it was the most superb ceremony ever.

The Daily Mash saw fit to run:

Everything just so exciting

… so clearly they harbour suspicions as well.

How, in the name of Lord Coe, could the vast majority of readers suddenly switch from caustic commentary and red-arrowing any who praised the ceremony to the diametric opposite? This had me doubting what I’d been seeing – until, that is, I read this piece from Canada Free Press, sent by Chuckles:

The creative mind behind the opening ceremony has got a unanimous national pat on the back for his efforts as a global audience of 4 billion got to watch London awash in a sentimental lovefest of its cultural touch points. The papers are orgasmic with reports of the “best ever opening ceremony” amidst calls for Boyle’s knighthood.

But scratch the surface beneath the parade of iconic double decker buses, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and you will find that ruling the night was a worship of socialism, wrapped up in a creed of sentimental societal justice, all laced with sinister elements that made this viewer cringe.

The highly selective trawl through British history notably excluded even a hint of the largest empire the world has ever known. No colonies mentioned or the civilizing force Britain brought to all four corners of the world. It is far too politically incorrect to suggest that native peoples did not invent the parliamentary system.

Not a whiff of Magna Carta, or dare I say any of the great saints and martyrs that stood and died for real principle. Instead we had Queen Elizabeth II agree to star in a short film alongside Daniel Craig’s James Bond, who ‘escorted’ her by helicopter before parachuting into the stadium, her stunt double’s skirts flying up to reveal long knickers.

Under the auspices of celebrating British childrens’ literature lurked the moral rot no one will speak of in the happy clappy lovefest of British talent. JK Rowling, the author responsible for turning a generation of impressionable minds onto the occult in her Harry Potter books, introduced this segment with the famous opening lines of Peter Pan, while we witnessed a colossal assembly of villains from Cruella de Vil and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Child Catcher to Voldemort and an assortments of evil ghouls running around the sweet children still in their hospital beds. Mary Poppins came flying in to save the day, but the segment ended with a weird giant infant head in a bed with no visible body.

Now there are two quite significant issues arising from this:

1. If the sudden u-turn at the Mail was not a lobotomy on the prefrontals of the readers, then the Mail has been guilty, along with the Telegraph, of wilfully telling porkies and running false polls, of flagrant political manipulation – and I’m the only one who noticed the u-turn?

2. In the light of CFP’s last paragraph above, there were actually people who loved that ideological claptrap and touchy-feely false British history? There were actually people who, through a general ignorance of the real British history, swallowed all that as authentic and were wowed by it?   Who saw the symbolism and dark tone as just a bit of harmless fun?

Look, if you pour millions into an opening ceremony, you’re always going to be able to have:

205 copper petals carried in by each team during the athletes’ entrance … assembled on the tips of a huge open flower-like sculpture and lit before rising to close and form one enormous cauldron of many flames. Or … those impressive 640,000 LED pixels set in over 70 thousand small panels mounted between the spectator’s seats that erupted in a magnificent display of colour and light that gave Piccadilly Circus a run for its money.

Yes, you’ll of course be able to run a spectacle like something out of Mordor, dripping with dark atmosphere, with the swaying masses chanting in unison, the torch representing something quite different to what is sold to the punters:

One ring rules them all.

11 comments for “A curious thing happened on the way to the Olympics

  1. July 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I didn’t watch it but then I never do watch the Olympics so nothing unusual there. I heard that CND and the NHS were included and I would have to agree that that was excessively political. My dad was killed by an NHS hospital so I do not think that it is a thing that should be celebrated. I get a real feeling that I’m being bullied into approving of it.

    But I am finding it quite easy to avoid it, there is nothing going on where I live so I can’t complain really.

    It had to be a populist celebration really. I can’t dislike Danny Boyle because his “Sunshine” film is one of my favourites.

  2. July 30, 2012 at 1:34 am

    27 million of us are supposed to have watched it but that did not include me nor any of the seven people I asked on Saturday and Sunday.

  3. Voice of Reason
    July 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Doesn’t Iceland have the World’s oldest parliament?

    • July 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      I think you’re right. But they (who left their kingdom seeking freedom) had the advantage of colonising an empty land. It is as though the American revolutionaries had sailed to a desert island.

      The English struggle for liberty was against strong opposition in their own country. No wonder it took centuries.

  4. Jan
    July 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    This is the lastest I can find on the Daily Mail survey, don’t know where they got the 60% from

    The best ever 38%
    Better than Beijing 14%
    At least not an embarrassment 32%
    A total disaster 16%

    • July 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Yes but polls are no use, of course, as they’re rigged. That’s what the post was about – how 80% were agin and suddenly next day, a large amount are for. Most peculiar. Going around the blogs, the opinion is decidedly negative.

    • July 31, 2012 at 9:04 am

      I wonder if the 38% who declared it ‘the best ever’ could remember the opening ceremony in say South Korea, or have even seen the one in Mexico?

  5. David A. Evans
    July 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Is there something going on in London? 👿


  6. Uncle Badger
    July 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I have no idea whether the polls were rigged or not. I would be inclined to believe they were at least massaged, were it not for the number of people I’ve seen on non-political sites clapping their flippers like Monty Python’s sea lions.

    PT Barnum’s immortal: “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public,” is just as true of the rest of us.

    If the British public wasn’t gullible how could it ever have been taken in by a charlatan like Blair?

    Sadly, I’ve concluded that the majority have swallowed the Olympics nonsense and that only a grumpy minority (of which I claim proud membership) stand in horrified wonder at the hateful spectacle.

    • David A. Evans
      July 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Why is there not a “thumbs up” or “round of applause” smiley?


  7. July 31, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Harry Cole also believes that the reflection of public opinion has been rigged.


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